By Chloe Coradetti, Mechanical Engineering, The National University of Singapore, Singapore.
Aaaand it’s the end of the year already?! What? Have I time travelled forward? How did it go so fast??!! …
Well, the answer probably lies in all the fun I had this year abroad and the fact that South East Asia is so diverse that it is impossible to feel like you’ve managed to “do it all”.
So here I am, at month -1 with a dissertation to finish, some exams and a visit-list of all the cool places in Singapore I haven’t had the time to discover yet (too many cool places and events … can’t complain really).
My scheduled was cramped; I tried to manage my time wisely.
Finishing the prototype and report for my dissertation as well as preparing for my oral kept me awake at nights. At the end I was quite proud of what I presented, so I guess that’s what really matters even if I was slightly sleep deprived. To top it off, I got a good grade, so it was worth it; always is when hard work is being recognised.
As my time was precious I had to select my nights out extra carefully in order to make sure that I’ll have a super night enough to recharge my “social battery”.
The Tame Impala concert I attended in SG was for sure a highlight of my second semester.
I kept myself so busy that I truly did not see time fly by. In a mere panic, three days before my flight, I began realising all the administrative paper work I had to finish before leaving. I also realised that packing 1 year of an intense life in 30kg of bags is a big challenge, physically and emotionally.
THIS IS IT… This experience… This once in a lifetime chance to discover a different culture in the best possible context … THIS IS IT … I’ve done it, it’s over now…
What a weird sensation…
There were mixed feelings inside my heart; I was sad to close this chapter of my life and at the same time I was excited to know that soon I’ll be eating cheese again (oopsy frenchy) –Hum, I mean- seeing my friends and family, and be in my grounds, my culture.
My year abroad has been immensely satisfying in so many ways that it would be too hard to list.
But I can for sure tell you something; People are the thing! This is how you learn, how you share, how you feel, how you live … it’s through people. All of the people I’ve met taught me something. I feel so lucky and enriched to have encountered them all. I don’t intend to get all emotional but seriously, I’m going to miss a good bunch of them very dearly… Our heartbreaking goodbyes’ can testify of the intensity of the bonds we’ve managed to create in a year or even less for some.
If I can give you one advice for your exchange it would be to Realise that you are the newbie there. It might seem frightening but truly it is your biggest strength. Yes you are the one to make efforts to integrate, meet people …etc and it can be scary sometimes or you can even be rejected, but that’s part of the experience. Eventho, never, EVER, stop going towards people; you have so much to offer to one another! Be open-minded, listen, care and share.
What an amazing year it’s been!